Reeling from quake, Japan automakers cut output in U.S. plants
A team member at Honda's Greensburg, Indiana, plant works on a Civic a week after the Japan earthquake.
April 9th, 2011
07:39 PM ET

Reeling from quake, Japan automakers cut output in U.S. plants

Ripple effects from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan continued to be felt by the U.S. work force this week as Japanese automakers announced cuts in plant production at North American factories.

While the cuts were expected, the news signals the long road ahead for Japan's economy, the world's third largest, and how other nations will be affected.

Japan's big three - Honda, Nissan and Toyota - and the global auto industry are  increasingly hampered by parts suppliers in Japan who are struggling in the aftermath of the worst disaster to strike the island nation since World War II.

Strong aftershocks and rolling blackouts almost a month after the magnitude-9.0 quake have continued in metropolitan Tokyo, the nation’s economic center.

Toyota said in a statement on Friday it was cutting production schedules at its North American auto plants “with production suspended on April 15, 18, 21, 22, and 25.”

“The situation in Japan affects many automakers and many other industries. Extraordinary efforts are under way to help suppliers recover,” said Steve St. Angelo, executive vice president of Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America. “We are slowing down to conserve parts yet maintain production as much as possible,” he said in the statement.

During shutdowns, Toyota has a custom of continuing to pay its workers while finding them other work - sometimes as volunteers in the factories' communities.

On Friday, the company said it would provide employment for its 25,000 full-time workers, who it calls team members.  "Team members not required to work may report to work for training and plant improvement activities, use vacation or take unpaid time off," the company said.

Toyota also announced Friday that it would resume output at all its Japanese factories on April 18, but at 50% capacity.

With the spring and summer auto-buying season approaching, the situation is starting to worry Wall Street.

"The issue of potential supply shortage is a top global priority," Morgan Stanley said in a recent report. "Even a missing $5 part can stop an assembly line."

Honda Motors also announced cuts in domestic output starting next week, with more reductions based on the availability of parts.

While 80% of Honda products and parts sold in the United States are produced in North America, the automaker said “a few critical parts” come from Japan.

“Thus, the unstable parts supply situation in Japan is impacting our ability to operate our automobile plants here in North America at full strength,” the automaker said.

Also, Nissan said this week it expected 50% output at its five factories in Japan through the end of the month.

Toyota, Nissan and Honda operate about 30 major auto factories in North America, according to their respective websites.

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Filed under: 2011 tsunami • Auto Industry • Earthquake • General Motors • Honda • Toyota
soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. Philip

    @jimbo...people are people wherever you go. There are people who are generous and thourough while performing their jobs and there are those who aren't. Laziness and greed gets the best of some no matter where the assymbly line is.

    April 10, 2011 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  2. A. Gross

    Dealermine Helps New Car Dealers Weather Parts Shortage “Tsunami:" http://car­czarconsul­ting.com/0­4/03/deale­rmine-help­s-dealers-­weather-pa­rts-shorta­ge-tsunami­-ford-to-c­lose-ky-f-­series-pla­nt/

    April 10, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  3. YesWeDoCare

    Good Morning Folks!,

    Unfortunately, there really isn't a effective way to having things keep on topic for the folks who want to engage, on topic, regarding these blog posts. The idea of using "OT" at the start of your post is a good idea. Also, Philip above @ 7:50am made a very good suggestion regarding setting up a separate "chatroom" for folks who want to go "OT". This is definitely being looked at as a possible alternative for folks to use.

    Another thing to note, it has been our observation that multiple postings (under multiple screen names) are from one person, maybe two but we aren't sure yet. Again, unfortunately the way the system is setup, there is not currently a good way to stop this. Screen names, email addresses can be easily changed and screen names can also be easily highjacked.

    The only suggestion, until we get a better system in place, is to use the "report abuse" button. We realize that may sound extreme but it is currently our only way to effectively assess the situation to create a better environment for all. However, as noted above regarding the ease of changing screen names etc., we realize that this won't help the situation much, as it currently is.

    Personally, I suggest trying your best to ignore the "chatroom" folks, my current feeling is their intentions are not malicious. However, if there are situations with name calling, excessive vulgarity or other non appropriate responses, please do use the "report abuse" button. We want this to be an environment where people feel safe to share their opinions with respect for each other. Please try to "rise above" with offending replies even if you feel the comment you are replying too is offending. Just use the "report abuse" button and try to refrain from from lowering yourself to another's offensiveness.

    Oh and btw, *facepalm* is a funny response but no one likes getting slapped in the face even in the cyber world. 😉

    Carry on, there will peace when you are done.....

    April 10, 2011 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  4. YesWeDoCare

    Apologize, Philip @7:50am was meant for the previous thread. Still a great suggestion though!

    April 10, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Philip

    Yeah. Back in like '03 AOL had an "War on Iraq" chatroom where everyone communicated simultaneously. There were some real charachters...SherrifBob911 was our version of Jim Brieske here. (if you don't know Jim...well, I don't want to spoil it for you. Jim is special) And I too get annoyed whenever I'm posting seriously and everyone else is playing. We are just old children ya know. (wink)

    April 10, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Philip

    I think our threads are getting crossed. A couple of others are posting about comments being posted on the wrong chart. And it wasn't even a full moon.

    April 10, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Harry

      I just listened to this call TWICE. It was feworpul and made me realize that for the longest time my priorities have been out of order. Starting now I am back on track. Thank you for sharing with such passion.Golda

      March 12, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. 8O

    RAISINS!!!

    April 11, 2011 at 1:35 am | Report abuse |
  8. cesar

    Tim, I mean Tom, you're absolutely roght.

    April 11, 2011 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  9. cesar

    Gaddalfi needs to follow the road map.

    April 11, 2011 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  10. double d

    this is gay

    April 25, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Bob

    Who is double d

    April 25, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Felicia

    BOO!

    April 25, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
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